Torch Relay Stage 27: The historic Ocean Relay starts in Finistère. PARIS 2024

The Olympic Torch Relay enjoyed a festive day in the Finistère before leaving Brest to begin a unique chapter in a special journey to light up five French overseas territories. This Friday, the relay continued its tour of Brittany, from surfing to hiking, with a palpable enthusiasm between Port-la-Forêt and Brest.

Former Miss France, Laury Thilleman, lit the cauldron on the Malbert quay before the Torch set off on a transatlantic crossing to Guadeloupe with Armel Le Cléac'h and a legendary crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI. Together with Sébastien Josse, the two sailors who have circumnavigated the globe seven times between them, embarked on an amazing adventure with Marie-José Pérec, Marine Lorphelin, Alexis Michalik and Hugo Roellinger. 

The day began with mus in Port-la-Forêt, opposite the Glénan Islands. This part of Brittany, nicknamed 'Crazy Valley' by the famous French sailor Olivier de Kersauson, has been the training ground for famous skippers, such as Jean Le Cam. The Torch also lit up Quimper, passing by the Stade Pierre de Coubertin stadium and along the Odet river to the city centre. The Spires of the Saint Corentin Cathedral overlooked this day of sport and culture. 

The collective surf relay took place at the Point de la Torcha in the heart of the Bigouden area, and was admired by the spectators on the immense white sandy beach. The Olympic Torch then moved on to Plougastel-Daoulas, famous for its strawberries and for being an "active and sporting town". Having been chosen as a training centre for the Olympic Games, it was an essential stop for the relay. 

The Torch then visited the Pointe du Raz cape, which receives around 800,000 visitors a year. Nearly 600 pupils from Cap Sizun watched the show, first accompanied by the Bagad Beuzeg Ar C'hab traditional music group, as the relay passed in front of the Notre-Dame des Naufragés memorial. On the approaches to the Raz de Sein, a great parade of old sailing ships took place and the torch then went to Mont Saint-Michel-de-Brasparts in Saint-Rivoal. 

The chapel overlooks the characteristic heath landscape of the area, showing that Finistère has more to offer than just its 2,263 km of coastline. After the hills of the Monts d'Arrée, the route headed for Brest. Starting from the Moulin Blanc harbour, it meandered through the city in front of a formation of the letters 'JO 2024' created by 100 water walkers. The torch also passed near the Pont de Recouvrance bridge and visited the Vrest Castle. 

La Torché is a surfing temple in Brittany. PARIS 2024
La Torché is a surfing temple in Brittany. PARIS 2024

Jean Le Cam, nicknamed 'King Jean', was the first to carry the Olympic Torch, in Port-la-Forêt. At 65, he is preparing for his 6th Vendée Globe race around the world in November. Other celebrities took turns, including the goalkeeper of the French women's handball team, Cléopâtre Darleux

Sébastien Flute, a French archer and 1992 Olympic champion, was present in Brest, as was Mariamma Merandon.  Born in Brest, she won the French 3rd division title in wheelchair football, also plays boccia and dreams of representing France at the Paralympics. Arnaud Kergosien, Para table tennis champion and seventh best French player, carried the Torch at the Espace Avel Vor venue in Plougastel. 

Claude Courgeau, the oldest torchbearer of the day, has worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years, helping vulnerable young people. Jacques Barreau's company uses cargo sailing ships to transport coffee and chocolate from one side of the world to the other. Marie-Louise Quinault, who carried the Torch Torch in Quimper, is a bundle of energy and contributes to the dynamism of her region through charitable and sporting activities. 

La Torche, a famous surfing spot in Brittany, which hosted the Funboard World Championships in 1986, welcomed the collective surfing relay. Situated to the south of the Bay of Audierne, its Dantean weather conditions, with winds of up to 40 knots, have forged its legend. The area has witnessed the beginnings of future champions such as Louka Tirilly de Vera. 

As the captain of this collective relay and a pillar of the French Surfing Academy team, he embodies youth and the intergenerational oceanic heritage and was joined by 23 torchbearers, including the youngest of the day, Salomé Delaporte. Marc Emmanuel Dubrana showed that being visually impaired is not an obstacle to enjoying one's passions to the full. 

Other athletes who excelled on the water included shortboard champion Gaspard Larsonneur and Amandine Chazot, an elite stand-up paddler, not forgetting Ronan Chatain, a former longboard champion who shone at the World Championships between 1997 and 2002. 

A unique chapter of the Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay has begun with the Ocean Relay. It will include a major sporting event: a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on board the Maxi Banque Populaire XI, skippered by Armel Le Cléac'h, a major figure in ocean racing and the fastest sailor to circumnavigate the globe in a monohull. He will be joined by Sébastien Josse, also a major figure in sailing.

Marie-José Pérec, the only French woman to win three Olympic gold medals in athletics, Marine Lorphelin, an ambassador for the Olympic torch relay, Alexis Michalik, a star of the French theatre, and Hugo Roellinger, a chef with two Michelin stars, sailed alongside the two sailors with a mixture of excitement and emotion. 

The imposing maxi-trimaran left Brest for an historic adventure. The images of this giant of the sea sailing through the Goulet de Brest were breathtaking. By bringing the Flame to the French Overseas Territories, the Ocean Relay will enable the French people all over the world to share in this great festival and celebrate the Games. 

The Ultim boat is due to arrive in Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe on 15 June before setting off for Martinique on 16 June with a new crew of overseas sportsmen and women to celebrate the success of French overseas sportsmen and women, past, present and future. The Olympic torch, carried by lanterns, will light up French Guiana on 9 June, La Réunion on 12 June and French Polynesia on 13 June.